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The Crack Magazine

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The Good Boss

Director: Fernando León de Aranoa

Stars: Javier Bardem, Manolo Solo, Almudena Amor, Óscar de la Fuente, Tarik Rmili, Sonia Almarcha

Javier Bardem reunites with frequent collaborator de Aranoa for this occasionally amusing but unsubtle capitalist satire. Bardem is Blanco, the smarmy boss of Básculas Blanco, a company he inherited from his father, which is a leading manufacturer of industrial scales. ‘Effort Equilibrium Loyalty’ are the company watchwords Blanco insists, but despite his oily insistence that the business is like a large family, his self-serving behaviour suggests otherwise. Over an unwieldy two hours the picture charts Blanco’s attempts to maintain that equilibrium (and the picture drives this metaphor into the ground) as things begin to fall apart. His long-time manager and trusty henchmen Mirales (Solo) is having a breakdown due to marriage problems, and is quarrelling with immigrant worker and rival for promotion Khaled (Rmili). Meanwhile the recently-fired long-time employee Jose (de la Fuente) has set up camp outside the factory grounds with his protests becoming ever louder and intrusive. Blanco’s flirtation with his new attractive, seemingly innocent assistant Liliana (Amor), the daughter of an old colleague, complicates matters yet further. This is a good meaty role for Bardem, the kind of creepy oddball baddies he excels in, but the meandering plotting and sluggish pacing results in a loss of comic momentum and satirical bite.

David Willoughby

Follow David on Twitter @DWill_Crackfilm